“Always being there for me when I needed it” and “always putting everyone else before yourself” — that’s how some Wellington High School students described classmate Josh Byers.
The words appear on a banner posted just inside the main doors at WHS. They are a way for teens to mourn Byers, 17, who took his own life.
Principal Tina Drake described Byers much the same, saying he always brought smiles to the faces of those around him.
“Wellington High School and the Wellington community lost a wonderful, caring, and compassionate young man this week,” said a statement posted to the WHS Facebook page. “Josh was a true role model and he will be greatly missed. Please keep the Byers family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Police rushed last Wednesday to the Wellington Reservoir and used ATVs to search the woods near Jones Road for Byers. He was flown to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, where he died over the weekend.
“Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem,” said police chief Tim Barfield. “It’s a tragic situation anytime someone wants to harm themselves. It’s particularly tragic when it’s someone pretty young.”
The reservoir incident happened around the same time as a reported active shooter panic that turned out to be false. The two had nothing to do with each other, police and school officials confirmed.
Barfield said a Wellington Schools custodian reported someone with a gun, leading to a lockdown of Westwood Elementary School and flooding the police station with calls. Barfield sent out a notice via the Lorain County emergency alert system saying there was no active shooter situation.
Police later said someone carrying a knife at a nearby trailer park was actually what led to the custodian making the call.
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise A banner prominently posted in the main corridor at Wellington High School is signed by classmates of Josh Byers. It includes messages mourning his death over the weekend.